By Harihar Swarup
Actor-singer Shruti Haasan first stepped into a recording studio when she was six years old. It was to sing a few lines of composer IIayaraja’s song. ‘Porti Paadadi Peney’ for her father Kamal Haasan’s magnum opus, Thevar Magan (1992). Then, she clung to her father’s hand, butterflies in her stomach. That is when she saw a red heart stickler on the microphone. That heart comforted her and gave her confidence that she would not make a mess of it all. Since then, she has always associated the recording studio with kindness and love. “it will always for ever remain an encouraging memory for me,” says Haasan, who has just returned to Mumbai after her shoot for The Eye, her international project with Mark Rowley.
Haasan, 37, has come a long way since then. After 14 years in the Indian film industry—she made acting debut with Hindi film Luck (2009) — She can proudly flaunt that she is one of the most sought after stars, especially in the South. An array of accolades—including two Filmfare awards and Indian Achiever’s Award earlier this year—have given her the freedom to choose diverse roles. Whether it was RAW agent of the journalist in Laabam (2021) or the mother in Krack (2021), Haasan has defied typecasting. Her upcoming releases include Prashant Neel’s Salaar, opposite Prabhas, and Gopichant Malineni’s NBK 107, opposite Nandamuri Balakrishna.
But it is difficult to contain firebrand actor within India. Her international project was treadstone (2019), in which she was simply “trying to do something new”. Treadstone opened the way for her second international project, The Eye, directed by Daphne Schmon, for which she shot in Athens and Corfu. The psychological thriller is about a widow who returned to a Greek island to spread her dead husband’s ashes. Its release date is yet to be announced.
“The Eye is extremely difficult from Treadstone, in which I just had a guest appearance and was just trying to find my feet”, says Hassan. “it is a beautifully emotional film. I truly feel privileged to be part of this project”.
Coming from such an illustrious family of actors, it is only natural that Hassan finds cinema to be most fulfilling thing in her life. But it was not her first love. In fact, she, began her career as a singer. “I got into music seriously when I turned 19, when I went to a music school aboard and started writing and making my own music”, she recalls. “I always wanted to study as many genres and go as far as I could possibly could.”
It was her father who introduced her to the world of music, when he gifted her with a CD of the white Album by The Beatles. She remembers listening to it again and again never tiring of songs. But it was music by the American rock super group Audio Slave that got her hooked to heavy metal. Even after day of hectic shooting, she comes back, sits at her piano and writes music at night. “I did not write music for anybody else”, she says. “But it was a cathartic process for me. It gave me such a joy and peace that I wanted to share it with others”. (IPA Service)